Why would a 66-year-old coach, 13 years removed from his last gig, want to get back on the sidelines while starting a program from scratch no less?
"Football is the only sport where there was a spot for me," newly appointed Georgia State football coach and former NFL great Bill Curry said. "It’s the only sport where the limited talents of Bill Curry could hike the ball to Bart Starr, John Unitas."
Curry spoke to the Rotary Club of Covington Tuesday and told stories about his days on the gridiron which included the head coaching job at Georgia Tech, his alma mater, from 1980-86. Two of his former players, Covington Rotary members Johnny Smith and Jerry Mays, were on hand to relive some of Curry’s fondest memories.
A native of College Park, Curry played for Bobby Dodd at Georgia Tech before spending 10 years as a center in the NFL. He was the starting center for both the Super Bowl I champion Green Bay Packers and the Super Bowl V champion Baltimore Colts.
Curry left the NFL in 1975 and began coaching college in 1976 as the offensive line coach for Tech. After leaving The Flats in 1986, he moved to Tuscaloosa where he coached the Crimson Tide from 1987-89. He left Alabama for Kentucky where he stayed from 1990 to 1996 before working for ESPN as a college football analyst. He won coach of the year in both the ACC and SEC and won national coach of the year in 1989, the same year he won the SEC championship with Alabama.
While he’s had opportunities to coach again since leaving the sidelines, Curry and his wife Carolyn have deep roots in the Atlanta area. And it wasn't until GSU president Carl Patton came calling in 2008 that he seriously gave it another thought.
"To be invited at this stage in life — I just figured I wouldn’t coach again," he said. "People might think I am crazy and should be at home clipping coupons. But I love to coach. I love the sport. Football is the only sport which every player needs every teammate on every play just to survive. It’s the essence of a team sport."